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Netroots Politics

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the power-to-the-people dept.

242

Michael Gracie writes "I picked up "Crashing The Gate - Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics" from the DailyKos website, albeit apprehensively. The Kos community has a "reputation," and some would suspect that any printed material associated with the site would parallel what is said there. Nevertheless, I was curious to hear what Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga would say, knowing they wouldn't have to deal with the instant (and often aggressive) feedback the "Kossacks" dispense. For the most part, I was pleasantly surprised." Read the rest of Michael's review.

As background, the authors are no strangers to the Internet or its political enablement. Armstrong is a household name in the arena, having started one of the first political weblogs, MyDD.com, and assisting with the Howard Dean campaign's blogging efforts. Zuniga is just as well known, if not more so. He founded DailyKos, which is likely the most popular political group weblog site in existence. In other words, these guys should know their stuff, and for the most part they seem to.

As pure reading material goes, the book ("Progressive Partner Special Limited Edition") is precisely 196 pages of 100% post-consumer waste recycled, old-growth forest-free paper, including 14 pages of reference notes and indices. The type is large, well spaced, and generally easy on the eyes. I knocked this puppy off over three afternoons, including note taking.

While I didn't fact check every line of the book, what I received was a pretty thorough, analysis-driven opinion of what has gone wrong with Democratic Party politics. It starts with a definition of "the enemy," the "cons" of the Republican political thought process. Corporate insiders, right-wing think tank graduates, religious leaders, and old-school mindsets are overstuffed in a barrel. What pops out is the realization that the Republican Party is less a tank mowing over everything in its path than a loosely bound, fragile coalition that has succeeded not by Borg-like assimilation, but through sheer patience and will.

Onward to the "failing" side, in which Armstrong and Moulitsas slice and dice their political party in what can only be described as a semi-hostile, scathing rebuke of the disorganization, the infighting, and the selfishness which has kept it divided. The authors are, however, quick to point at two examples of success (in Colorado and Montana during 2004). In those cases, campaigns took decidedly different approaches, but one thing seemed certain - anything BUT the status quo could work.

Diving deeper into the situation, "Crashing The Gate" now hits the hot button that is going to piss a lot of Progressives off - the wholesale pilfering of campaign dollars by political/media consultants, who enrich themselves fabulously while using worn out techniques that lead to failure after failure. The D.C. power base, showing no inclination to stop the madness, is not forgotten either. If any one point becomes perfectly clear to readers, it will be that big money has and is wasted in extraordinary magnitudes.

At this point, J & M point to McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform, as the tipping in the power struggle over Progressive direction. McCain-Feingold redirected high-dollar contributions from direct-to-politicians pockets into 527 organizations that cannot "explicitly advocate the election or defeat of any candidate for federal office." What it really did, according the authors, is force Democrats to look to "the people." Numbers no longer followed dollar signs - they had to follow individual support roll counts. Then Howard Dean captured the Internet's imagination.

The authors give Howard Dean a lot of credit for initiating the "grassroots movement," something I found unsurprising considering they were in the middle of it. By engaging a myriad of internet tools managed by foot soldiers, Dean quickly proved McCain-Feingold naysayers wrong. The Democratic stronghold eventually trounced Dean - they took it upon themselves to define him as "unelectable," and turn Dean's overzealousness into perceived nuttiness. It was a concerted attack, and not without casualties. First and foremost, John Kerry lost the Presidential election, and that is where I inferred that the tables really turned. While "wounds were being licked" offline, Internet activists maintained engagement as thought the battle wasn't over. As described, after Terry McAuliffe (Chairman of the DNC) departed, the bloggers made their presence hard to ignore, uncovering dirt on hand-selected McAuliffe successors, one after the other. Howard Dean maintained his loyalty to those folks, and the end result...he is now Chair of the Party.

The last chapter, entitled "Inside The Gate," follows up on some successes for the Democratic Party in places like Montana and Virginia, and infers that "grassroots" campaigning, not "netroots" organization, was the primary motivating factor. In many campaigns, however, "netroots" did play a role, and even when losses were incurred, the efforts succeeded in draining opposing candidates of funds and energy while giving good reason for progressives to relish in their newfound power. Fair warning - the net was not to be ignored.

No review of a political reference would be complete without some conclusion for those so inclined. Rather than air my personal views, I will provide some perspective-based alternatives:

A) If you are anything close to Progressive (which I suspect many readers will be), you may at first feel a bit betrayed by your leaders, and certainly enraged by the pilfering of contributions that came from your pocketbook. Your suspicion that what is being suggested is emulation of the long-term strategies of the enemy is not unfounded. Crashing The Gates sometimes infers just that, albeit with a bit of a "net twist." Be patient until the end - you may wind up wanting to blog for your favorite local candidates - but it won't be an easy road. I'd say I concur with the authors that there is no short-path to election success, no matter the effort - the authors are making no promises, and that is refreshing from any set of written words deemed political. And be forewarned - what led to victory in a particular place and particular situation, might not work the next time. I interpreted that by reading between the lines.

B) If you lean right you will feel warm (and smug) over your Party's triumphs, and a little confused as to why someone would so openly lay out a potential roadmap for defeating you. You may be inclined to read the book again, just to make sure you have a game plan to thwart any such attempts. Alternatively, you might brush off any thoughts of a grassroots movement ever having a chance of taking your team to the mat. You have a "big machine" on your side, one constructed over decades - how could any grassroots effort put a dent in it? This reader, having a meager understanding of how "new media" communications spreads, says the latter take might not be a wise one. Conservatives have their pundits, but they should ask themselves whether they could engage armies of them.

C) If you sit in the middle, a most likely social liberal and fiscal conservative, I'd say you may still feel a bit lost. You have choices: go the route of the ultra-organized "idea generators," but risk more betrayal on the fiscal end while you turn blue over the social fanaticism; or, you can bet on those who still haven't gotten their act together, but have a lot of momentum, gained recently, in the new media realm. Yes, the progressives have a "new machine," but can they effectively control it as it grows? The conservatives have certainly proven they can steer theirs, and it is anything but small. Either way, you'll solidify your previous view that politics is about big money, intensive recruitment, and, ultimately, some form of indoctrination. You might not exactly get the "warm-fuzzies" if you fancy yourself an independent thinker.

I said my satisfaction with the read contained some caveats. It did, and they affect my rating of the book as such.

1) I found the historical elements of the book the very compelling - again, while I didn't check facts, I didn't feel I needed to. The first couple of chapters were relatively unbiased - at times I almost felt like the authors were glorifying Republican efforts. Then, wham, they actually say Republican strategies are "brilliant," while describing their party's entitlement participation philosophy (meaning, one should be happy to have a job on a Democratic campaign, even if you electricity just got shut off) in comparison to the well paid, constant grooming and care that Republican "students" usually received.

2) I was hoping for a complete separation between the web diatribe the authors are associated with, and their view to initiate change through hardcopy publication. Unfortunately, I found at least one element of major distraction, on pages 114 through 118, which referenced events regarding politically motivated compensation for both old and new media input. It hinted, unnecessarily, of some bitterness, while I would rather have heard a token "Oh well, that is how the game is played." The section in question was hard to shake - it followed me for the last sixty or so pages. Additional anecdotes describing "normal, sane" candidates having the ability to win elections left me chuckling a few times as well, meaning I had some difficulty disassociating the authors with some of what I have read at DailyKos.

3) The title conflicted with some of the nuances within. For someone sitting on the fence (as described above), I thought the authors would have tried to harder to convince that the supposed "progressive revolution" isn't just more of the same. The dollar signs strewn throughout made me think more about all the money that politics engulfs (even if it is raised by citizen journalists) than the power any individuals have to instigate real change. I sometimes felt that the subtitle could have included "people-powered fundraising."

4) As the authors point out (as excuse or not), the manuscript was scrapped late in the process. They started from scratch, under considerable time pressure, and I can respect that. In my eyes (assuming it is true), they scored some points here for admitting the need to start over, and re-working on the fly.

I know Slashdot readers have their opinion of bloggers in general, and it is not always the most favorable. However, as a consistent reader of both Slashdot and several major political blogs I have to say "Crashing The Gate" is a heck of a job from a couple of "bloggers." I am now intensely curious to see if Glenn Reynolds's "An Army of Davids" paints a different (and/or alternative) picture of the "netroots" phenomena.

As a final offering, Armstrong and Zuniga note that the world of progressive bloggers could already be four to five million strong, with extraordinary growth predicted for the future. In addition, they offered that anyone, anywhere could contribute. But, a democratic system requires mutual acceptance, healthy debate, and a willingness to accept a role alongside, not hands above, the rest. The online world already seems to be straying from those core tenets, with clubby recruitment gatherings, A-list bloggers and too much crosstalk. Without some correction, I wonder whether the growing political force the authors portray can sustain itself long term, or whether new media will turn out like old media - sensationalist, untrustworthy, and begging to be ignored."


You can purchase Crashing The Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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242 comments

Re Subjectivity (4, Interesting)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877429)

The Kos community has a "reputation," and some would suspect that any printed material associated with the site would parallel what is said there
Yes, they do. But I know of no news or opinion service that doesn't have a reputation. Many don't trust Fox because they are to the right. Many don't trust the NY Times because they are to the left.
Whatever we write, no matter how much we try to be 100% objective, will be subjective due to our own experiences, culture etc.
That being said- Kos is not someone I always agree with- but he does show that many Democrats are not liberal hollywood weenies. Many Dems (like my grandfather and Kos) are Vets. I don't consider myslelf Dem or Republican, but thats another story....

Re:Re Subjectivity (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14877530)

I will agree with that. Unfortunately, the Dems have been taken over by special interest groups, Kerry, Kennedy, and other morons who don't have both feet planted in reality.

Historically, the democratic party has been about the little guy. Today it is more about the spotted owl, gays, anti-republicans, and running around pushing each other into the bushes.

I hate both parties quite liberally.

Right and left are false dichotomies (-1)

77Punker (673758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877703)

If you're sick of the bullshit, look in to the Libertarian Party [lp.org] . There's no hidden agenda or anything, just the idea of advancing freedom and limiting authoritarianism in America.

Re:Right and left are false dichotomies (2, Insightful)

Photon Ghoul (14932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877742)

limiting authoritarianism in America ... by giving it to private companies.

Re:Right and left are false dichotomies (0, Flamebait)

77Punker (673758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877891)

Your comment makes no sense. The current state of American government is that it gives loads of money to businesses. A Libertarian government gives no gifts to individuals and very few gifts to the whole.

Re:Right and left are false dichotomies (1, Insightful)

Photon Ghoul (14932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877974)

My comment was a little snarky, but essentially boils down to me saying something like:

Giving power to private companies is not any better than leaving it in the hand of a bureaucratic institution.

Re:Right and left are false dichotomies (2, Insightful)

Dan Farina (711066) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877750)

While Libertarians do come with different stripes, I would say that the more extreme do not seem very realistic -- I, for one, would not entrust everything to whims of private hands.

Re:Right and left are false dichotomies (2, Insightful)

77Punker (673758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877866)

Quite true. The party platform needs some adjustment to get away from the "crazy nutcase" end of the spectrum. Anything taken to its logical extreme is a bad idea, and so is Libertarianism. Libertarianism at is logical end is just plain anarchy, and that never works for a civilized society. I see voluntary taxes and privately owned roads as a really bad idea, but I also see most of the other things the government has a hand in as being really bad ideas, too.

Re:Right and left are false dichotomies (2, Insightful)

Photon Ghoul (14932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877959)

Libertarianism at is logical end is just plain anarchy, and that never works for a civilized society.

There's more to anarchism [wikipedia.org] than you might think. Whether or not it's possible or even desireable is definitely up for debate. Note that "anarcho-capitalism" is probably closer to the extreme end of "libertarianism" than "anarchism" itself.

Re:Right and left are false dichotomies (1)

77Punker (673758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877995)

Anarchism is no government. People will do as they please, meaning they'll share like a communist utopia or maybe they'll sell things in an anarcho-capitalism. It doesn't matter what they choose to do, anarchy is still anarchy. Anarchy will eventually lend itself to chaos.

A bit inaccurate... (3, Insightful)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878102)

Anarchism can mean no government, but in many of its forms what it really means is voluntary or what I call buy-in government. In other words, there are still mechanisms of political organization, but their power over an indivdual depends upon a (entirely revocable) voluntary association with that government. See also: Anarchosyndicalism.

Now, that's not to say it isn't crazy on its own merits, but let's not throw labels around casually.

Re:A bit inaccurate... (1)

77Punker (673758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878129)

From what I gather from the term itself, a "buy-in" government operates more like a mafia protection racket than a real government. Not really governing anything.

Re:A bit inaccurate... (1)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878242)

Hence my comment about it being a little crazy. While the mafia metaphor may be apropos, I think it slightly misses the point; after all, the Mob does govern, in a sense, those spheres that it influences strongly, just not in a way that is particularly pleasant or egalitarian.

Re:Right and left are false dichotomies (5, Insightful)

smagruder (207953) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877876)

My points on Libertarianism:

  • The Libertarian economy: Runaway to Ruin
  • Libertarianism is like communism: both look great on paper.
  • Libertarians never seem to understand that lifting all constraints from powerful organizations ultimately means the end of freedom and democracy. Why can't they see the end game of their simplistic thinking?
  • Libertarianism constitutes the ultimate in linear thought processes.
  • The central problem (and irony) with big-L Libertarianism is that ultimately, in this linear system of thinking, all liberty is lost. Libertarianism always seems to leave out the concept of the big-power players, who obviously will always exist and will always work to build their power at the expense of the masses. Libertarianism leads to a feudalist society with no liberties. That's why I say Yes to small-l libertarianism for individuals, and No to big-L Libertarianism for corporations and industries, which I believe must *always* be regulated by small-d democratic fiat.

Re:Right and left are false dichotomies (2, Insightful)

77Punker (673758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877970)

Adhering to the desires of any political party is always a bad idea. I don't completely support the Libertarian party agenda, but I do think it's a far better agenda and more sincere one than the R's and D's. I work from within the party to try to grow it and to shape it into a little bit more moderate organization. Only when the party finally gets set in reality can it begin to gain a foothold in the government.

Re:Right and left are false dichotomies (3, Interesting)

sheldon (2322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878157)

I'm a libertarian in the small-l sense. While in 2004 the Libertarian party did make an attempt to be serious, I generally find that it's mostly filled with college kids who think the world is simple and don't really spend much time thinking.

Consider this line off the website:
"The Libertarian Party would increase employment opportunities by slashing taxes and government red tape. We would also end the welfare system with its culture of dependence and hopelessness."

Now we tried this once, a long time ago and it resulted in a series of boom and bust cycles made most famous with the Great Depression. That's not to say I necessarily support the Great Society programs in entirety, but I do support the safety net. In fact I would argue that the safety net allows the economy to grow faster, as people are willing to take risks because they know if it doesn't pan out they aren't entirely fucked. Now obviously there is balance, but eliminating it is as bad as over doing it.

Anyway, this is the kind of policy ideas you come up with when you analyze something, see one small symptom and then decide that is the disease. It's like a doctor amputating a leg because you've got a blister on your foot and then saying "See, the problem with the blister is solved!"

I don't agree with the Right and Left dichotomies, but the Libertarian party isn't the answer either.

Re:Right and left are false dichotomies (1)

77Punker (673758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878274)

I actually agree that the L party isn't the answer presently. Things like voluntary taxation and privatization of highways can't possibly work. I figure the L party is the best shot I have at reducing the size of government since I've seen what Republicans really mean when they say "freedom" and "small gov't". Also, you should look into the idea called (I think) the "fair tax". It's a little crazy, but it sounds at least plausible. So you give everybody in America a $500 EBT card once a month to buy enough food to barely live and then you put a sales tax on everything. That should mean the end of intrusive income tax and death tax and all those other really awful taxes. It should also be able to gain the needed funds if done right. It's a bit unrefined, but worth looking at. I believe there is a website for it somewhere.

Re:Right and left are false dichotomies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14878313)

WTF is a libertarian doing posting on the internet? I mean didn't it start as a useless, wasteful government project. I think you should practice what you preach and use compuserve.

Re:Right and left are false dichotomies (1)

77Punker (673758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878357)

The government shouldn't have started it. Now that it's here, I'm gonna go ahead and use it. The government shouldn't have built that huge library in my town. It is there, though, and I will use it. Not every action of every day is a philosophical battle.

Why stop looking at some arbitrary point? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14878126)

The NYT SAT on enough Iraq war lies stories until after the 2004 elections to help get GWB reelected. I wouldn't classify them as "left wing". They did it *on purpose*.

And for that matter, the only left wing and right wing in the US is an artificial construct. We have two major parties, BOTH of which cater to the large transnationals and globalist "the rich get richer and more powerful" forces as their primary focus. Any "grassroots" noises they make are to keep the rabble amused and to stop them looking behind the curtain. As long as those globalists can keep "the people" squabbling with each other with the phony left/right paradigm, they win. In 2004, the globalist fatcat party won the election, just like it did in 2000 and 1996 and 92. I mean, look at the election fraud with diebold et al. Kerry couldn't have run faster nor ignored it harder if he tried. How much evidence do the skull and bones deniers need? We don't have smoking gun, we have smoking artillery evidence, going way way back on any number of treasonus scandals involving both parties. They swap around who they take money from, the chinese army, haliburton, enron-who cares? Mena, Arkansas ring a bell with anyone? A boat load of connected Ds and Rs and dot mil goons involved there. Is this really that hard to grok?

It is BEYOND corrupt.

If anyone thinks things will get "better" with some globalist dipsquat puppet like Hillary or Kerry or even Dean in, they are swimming in the river of de nile. The R supporters are exactly the same, well meaning in their own way,but very naieve.

Re:Re Subjectivity (2, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878150)

> Whatever we write, no matter how much we try to be 100% objective, will be subjective
> due to our own experiences, culture etc.

Which is why I don't mind bias as long as it is out in the open. My objection to the NYT, for example, is that they insist they aren't biased. Dailykos or Rush Limbaugh don't bother me because both are honest about what they are and what they are trying to accomplish. Heck, even Fox is pretty open about the fact they lean right but make sure they let the other side get in their take on events also.

That said, I do take exception to your postmoden view that objectivity isn't possible. It may be true that 100% pure isn't possible (welcome to the real world) 99% is an attainable goal and mainstream journalism should be held accountable when they don't measure up. The BBC used to be the canonical example of objective reporting, even if nowadays they are banned at many British military installations because of their blatent biases.

It isn't rocket science either. It used to be the first thing they taught cub reporters, to get and report "just the facts". The Who, What, When, Where and Why. The reporter really shouldn't be in the business of 'explaining' the news, they should be reporting the facts and allowing the reader to come to their own conclusions. In cases where extra material is helpful a seperate background piece or analysis/opinion piece can run near the hard reporting. Seperating the reporting from the opinion makes it easy to hold the reporting accountable; anything not provably 'true' in a reported piece gets a correction in the next edition or else the paper's reputation can be made to suffer.

While some stories can't be broke without an anonymous source they should be be shunned normally because depending on them turns the news into rumor and innuendo instead of fact based reporting. If you dont't believe me, open a newspaper and see for yourself.

Poor topic for a book (3, Interesting)

bwd (936324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877433)

It looks like the scope of the book is much too narrow to infer any type of trend. Thomas Friedman's book The Lexus and the Olive Tree gives a much more macro view of the democratization of information and the impact the internet has on government. Although a bit dated, its scope is much wider and thus its easier to pick out trends than it is in this book.

Re:Poor topic for a book (1)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877464)

Information in politics and government has always evolved. It would be interesting to study the parallels between the internet and the pamphlets of the revolutionary period.
Any trends may best be viewed in hindsight however, as the way information is distributed changes so rapidly.

Re:Poor topic for a book (1)

phorest (877315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877967)

You'd notice a big difference, not only would the spelling and grammar be flawless, the ideas would be rational!

Where is Everybody? (-1, Offtopic)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877450)

Is it me or has Slashdot been slowing down in terms of traffic lately. Stories seem to be getting lower volumes of responses and slower responses. You can't tell me this is the result of Dig. Personally I think Dig sucks because it's not specific enough like Slashdot. Don't get me wrong, I've been annoyed with the direction Slashdot has taken for years but there are currently no better alternatives when your mail interests are Linux, Unix, and the people who love them. What gives?

Re:Where is Everybody? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877664)

It's the Eds. They've been posting stories that have their own bias embedded into them or totally missing the mark to the article in question. As such, it's the lack of credibility that is moving people away from Slashdot.

2004 Taught Us (0, Flamebait)

THE MESSAGE IS CLEAR (947711) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877465)

The message is clear: Internet politics have FAILED!

Re:2004 Taught Us (0, Troll)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877528)

One doesn't argue on the internet to prove a point. Like the photoshop says, you're still retarded.

It's a heck of a way to kill time, though.

Re:2004 Taught Us (1)

Lokni (531043) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877529)

The only thing 2004 taught us was the unreliability of electronic voting machines. Without a paper receipt as proof of your vote, there is absolutely NO way to ensure that the outcome is accurate. Can somebody explain what DIG is? Never heard of it.

Major Forums were "made" by Mass Media (1)

cryophan (787735) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878482)

In order to make money as a democratic/liberal political blogger, one must toe the Demcratic party line, which is the neoliberal, conventional wisdom, Washington Consenus. If you allow posters on your liberal forum that deviate markedly from this party line, they will be banned. This is how the mass media and those already in power maintain the status quo, and how they maintain ideological hegemony. People who own and run forums like Kos, DU, etc, can make money from Speaking Fees, books, Consultation fees, etc. But only so long as the material in their blogs substanially toes the party line. Generally speaking, the party line requires less attention be given to economics oriented aspects of politics, and more focus on social issues politics, i.e., wedge issues, like gay rights, identity politics, race and gender politics, guns, abortion, and other wedge issues. How does one become a MAJOR Liberal blogger? You must be mentioned by the mass media. How do you get mentioned by the mass media? It is like being "made" by the Mafia, I suppose. You gotta show them you are a Good Fella! Show them that you enforce ideological hegemony by banning not only rightwing posters, but also those posters who question the party line of BOTH parties. Once you have been mentioned repeatedly by the mass media as a blogger, you are MADE. You can make a living at it. But don't wander from the conventional wisdom. These same things pretty much apply to the rightwing GOP political forums

Review of the review (4, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877476)



As a lover of the free market and someone who has seen repeatedly that all politicians lie, and no politician will run government the way you want it run, I am constantly surprised by the Progressive movement. I have so many friends who label themselves Progressive, when they don't realize that the Progressive ideaology is no different than the political agenda of both the Democrats and the Republicans: to control others against their will in hopes of creating a better world. The reality of any political agenda is to control the many in order to give more power to the few, usually the friends and family (the cronies).

Here's my review of the review:

assisting with the Howard Dean campaign's blogging efforts.

I'm sure Howard Dean had time to blog himself. Most political blogs are carefully crafted and planned by the campaign crew -- it is no different than a speech given by a politician: they usually haven't read it before hand.

precisely 196 pages of 100% post-consumer waste recycled, old-growth forest-free paper

Which means the paper costs way more to make than regular forest paper. Considering that this cost means more people had to work on it, more air conditions were run, more people had to drive to work and more buildings were needed, I'm not sure how environmentally friendly the book is. I do know that Boise-Cascade has a great tree-planting policy, so I prefer to buy non-recycled paper. In fact, I never buy recycled products unless there is no alternative.

While I didn't fact check every line of the book,

I check every fact because I don't trust political books.

what I received was a pretty thorough, analysis-driven opinion of what has gone wrong with Democratic Party politics.

In my experience, the Democrats and Republicans both have the same problem: they don't follow through with their promises. When they do pass a law that they promised to pass, along with it comes 1000 other pork barrel projects. Usually the law is so modified from the promise that it has unintended consequences that affect us all in a negative way.

Corporate insiders, right-wing think tank graduates, religious leaders, and old-school mindsets are overstuffed in a barrel.

That's an interesting attack there. Almost every single Democrat in federal office is a corporate insider as well. Instead of being think tank graduates, most Democrat politicians are graduates of a college where the mindset is more socialist than Democratic. Don't get me started on old-school mindsets -- the Republicans definitely have forgotten the old school that they came from.

the infighting, and the selfishness which has kept it divided.

Of course there is infighting, you're talking about accepting a job that gives you incredible power over the masses.

campaign dollars by political/media consultants, who enrich themselves fabulously while using worn out techniques that lead to failure after failure.

Consider that the campaign finance system was broken by any time of reform or regulation (which created these consultants and it is now these consultants to fight for even more reform to give them even more power)

The D.C. power base, showing no inclination to stop the madness, is not forgotten either. If any one point becomes perfectly clear to readers, it will be that big money has and is wasted in extraordinary magnitudes.

The big money would not be wasted if campaign finance was deregulated, and Congress and the President were returned to the minimal powers as set forth by the Constitution in very specific ways. Destroy the power of the federal government, and you'll see the big money disappear.

redirected high-dollar contributions from direct-to-politicians pockets into 527 organizations that cannot "explicitly advocate the election or defeat of any candidate for federal office."

Actually, McCain-Feingold was written specifically to keep incumbents in power and destroy any minority voice in office. Now that you can't use your money to speak for you, the minority view is reduced to only a few hundred dollars per person. In the long run, McCain-Feingold was designed to allow future control of new voices, such as the web, radio, television and print media.

1) I found the historical elements of the book the very compelling - again, while I didn't check facts, I didn't feel I needed to.

I'm not sure I could agree here -- I always find the need to check the facts.

In the end, Progressives will end up with the same puppets in office who take their cues from big business and big money. This is NOT because big business is bad, it is because the system that the voters have created has given intense power to the wrong people -- the federally elected. When power is local (the city or the county), the money has to be spent on thousands and tens of thousands of candidates -- it is VERY hard to control. When the power is federal, the money is easily spent on just a few hundred candidates.

Want to fix the country? Deregulate campaign finance and cut the power intensely. If you want social programs, let them come from your local city or county, and let everyone who disagrees with your programs have the ability to vote with their feet.

You Are One Major Fucking Idiot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14877547)

Blow it out your ass, motherfucker.

You can go back to eating Cheetohs in Mommy's basement now.

Assholes like you make America sicko land (0, Troll)

mrraven (129238) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878033)

Asshole said: "...I prefer to buy non-recycled paper. In fact, I never buy recycled products unless there is no alternative."

Have you ever even seen an old growth forest? No I suppose not, and if you did you would find a soulless strip mall to be more beautiful.

I sincerely hope your house is destroyed by a landslide from a clearcut slope.

Re:Assholes like you make America sicko land (1)

Shihar (153932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878128)

You clearly did not understand his reasons for being against recycled paper. Do you get pissed off if a farmer harvests a crop every year? How about if he grows a crop that takes 5 years to grow and harvests that? What if the crop takes 45 years to go?

How do you harvest trees in a sustainable manner? By planting and harvesting trees in a manner to prevents soil erosion you can ensure that land remains forested (IE, not clear cutting) and healthy in a sustainable manner.

Harvesting trees, if done properly can be an environmentally neutral process. I personally don't know exactly how the two methods compare, but I could easily see how recycling trees could take an extra level of processing on a material that is already biodegradable. Paper in the environment isn't a bad thing, it just biodegrades quickly. It is the fact that old growth forests are cut down that is bad.

Now, is stating that you never buy a product with recycled material in taking it a little far? Probably. Unless you know where your paper is coming it is hard to tell if it is coming from a sustainable plot of land or from a rainforest.

The larger point is that before you jump down someone's throat because they defied "common wisdom", maybe you should step back and take a look at what they said.

Re:Review of the review (1)

argoff (142580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878162)

I'm sorry you got modded down so much. IMHO it is plus 5 content, and the other insulting replies to your post are way out of line. The response saddens me, but is not unexpected. You see, the politicians now know that they need to get their propaganda out online or they're never gonna make it, but when it comes to arguing on merrits and facts they just can't, so instead they try to insult, silence, and gang up on you.

The real story is not how technology is transforming democracy, it's how it's bypassing it. People are more and more able to secure their rights and freedoms without needing to fight the popular mob.

what the ?!!@ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14877524)

OH COME ON!

whats happened to slashdot, who gives a F@#*! about this stupid book,
really the quality of stories and moderation on this site is getting
pretty ridiculous!

Franco Un-American (-1, Offtopic)

geekee (591277) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877545)

NOFX

"I never thought about the universe, it made me feel small
Never thought about the problems of this planet at all
Global warming, radio-active sites
Imperialistic wrongs and animal rights! no!

Why think of all the bad things when life is so good?
Why help with an 'am' when there's always a 'could'?
Let the whales worry about the poisons in the sea
Outside of California, it's foreign policy

I don't want changes, I have no reactions
Your dilemmas are my distractions

That's no way to go, franco un-american
No way to go, franco un-american
No way to go, franco un-american
No way to go, franco, franco un-american

I never looked around, never second-guessed
Then I read some Howard Zinn now I'm always depressed
And now I can't sleep from years of apathy
All because I read a little Noam Chomsky

I'm eating vegetation, 'cause of fast food nation
I'm wearing a couple of shoes 'cause of globalization
I'm watching michael moore expose the awful truth
I'm listening to public enemy and reagan youth

I see no world peace 'cause of zealous armed forces
I eat no breath-mints 'cause their from de-hoofed horses
Now I can't believe; what an absolute failure
The president's laughing 'cause we voted for Nader

That's no way to go, franco un-american
No way to go, franco un-american
No way to go, franco un-american
Where can we go, franco un-american

I want to move north and be a canadian
Or hang down low with the nice australians
I don't want to be another 'i-don't-care-ican'
What are we gonna do franco, franco un-american"

NOFX

Reminds me of (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877608)

I don't know what exactly this is doing on /. other than perhaps the Internet angle (politiks on teh interwebs! yay!) but reading through the review I was reminded of something I read the other day... I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat!

But what the heck, it looks interesting. Might want to add it to the summer reading list. I'm busy revisiting Zelazny's Amber right now.

Money corrupts politics - absolutely (3, Insightful)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877629)

For someone sitting on the fence (as described above), I thought the authors would have tried to harder to convince that the supposed "progressive revolution" isn't just more of the same. The dollar signs strewn throughout made me think more about all the money that politics engulfs (even if it is raised by citizen journalists) than the power any individuals have to instigate real change. I sometimes felt that the subtitle could have included "people-powered fundraising."

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. If you want a friend in Washington, buy a dog. Money is the root of all evil, etc. etc. etc.

FIRST and FOREMOST, take out the corporate money, you will get better leaders that aren't solely out to make a buck for their buddies who run the corporations and the military-industrial complex.
But in a 'capitalist' economy and consumerist-society, does anyone actually believe that will happen or even work?
True Progressives do not have a voice in today's government - they are only heard in obscure, online blogs.
And if you want to initiate REAL change and start a 3rd party, FORGET ABOUT IT!
The current government will make rules to prevent you from even getting a 3rd party on the ballot.

Re:Money corrupts politics - absolutely (3, Insightful)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877723)

Have you ever voted? If you look at a presidential ballot, there a ton of people to vote for. It was around 12 last I remember, Anywhere from republican and Democrat to the Communist Party to the Prohibition Party. There are plenty of choices but they aren't very organized. That and you have party voters. I know plenty of people who will vote straight ticket no matter who the candidate it, Republican and Democrat.

By the numbers: (4, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877853)

#1. Repair the voting system. If you cast a vote, it must be counted. Until the votes of the people are counted, there won't be any reform.

#2. If you can't vote, you can't contribute. No corporations giving money to candidates or their election funds. Only people can vote and only people should be contributing money.

#3. End all PAC/lobby contributions. If a PAC wants to convince a Congress Critter to do something, that PAC can send a brochure or booklet or study. But it must be printed. That is all that they can do. No trips. No dinners. No gifts.

Once you've managed those, the people will have a CHANCE of taking back their government. Right now it is run by corporations, for corporations.

Re:Money corrupts politics - absolutely (1, Troll)

qkslvrwolf (821489) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877921)

Bingo.

The democrats are moderates.
The Repubs are neo-conservative right-wing nut jobs.
There is *nothing* representing the left.

And furthermore, to the guy who replied there were "plenty of candidates, go check out what the big 2 do to the debates [opendebates.org]

Re:Money corrupts politics - absolutely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14877992)

Absolute power corrupts absolutely

Your proof? Correlation is not causation. I'm more inclined to believe that power doesn't corrupt, but power attracts the corruptable (and absolute power attracts the absolutely corruptable).

Money is the root of all evil

If you MUST believe every trite "wise old saying" at least get it right.

The poor moderators are screwed... "-1, bible quote, or +1, misquotes the bible?" Money isn't the root of all evil, the love of money is the root of all evil (Matthew).

FIRST and FOREMOST, take out the corporate money, you will get better leaders that aren't solely out to make a buck for their buddies who run the corporations and the military-industrial complex.
But in a 'capitalist' economy and consumerist-society, does anyone actually believe that will happen or even work?


I've advocated for some time that a law be passed stating that you can't contribute to any candidate you're not eligible to vote for. I shouldn't be able to send a check for ten bucks to John McCain, since I live in Illinois, and GM shouldn't be allowed to "contribute" to John McCain because corporations can't vote (yet). That would apply to unions as well.

Will it ever happen? I'd bet my house it won't. Would it work? Why not?

I'd also like to make it a felony with serious prison time to attempt to contribute to more than one candidate in any race; in my mind that can only be a bribe. It shouldn't be legal.

I'm not holding my breath for that one, either.

And if you want to initiate REAL change and start a 3rd party, FORGET ABOUT IT!

I've seen few ballots in Illinois without at least the Libertarians on it. Most elections, especially for federal office (and often state and local races) have several "third" parties.

The trouble is, folks think if you vote third party you're "throwing your vote away." I rather believe that since both the Democrats and Republicans are owned by the multinational corporations, voting for a candidate from either of those two parties is throwing your vote away.

I'm splitting the next ballot between the Greens and the Libertarians. Sure, they'll lose, but it's a better choice than just staying home.

The current government will make rules to prevent you from even getting a 3rd party on the ballot.

I agree, if by "the current government" you mean the corporations that pull their strings. Example: in the last Presidential election, all of the (owned by the same multinationals that bribe and own the two parties) news outlets from CNN to Fox talked their heads off about Ralph Nader, who wasn't on the ballot in enough states to possibly win the election. OTOH they completely ignored the Libertarian, who was on the ballot in 48 states.

Re:Money corrupts politics - absolutely (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878253)

And how do you expect to eliminate corporations promoting their own ends? In some industries (banking comes to mind) top executives are expected to contribute to the favored parties. In fact, their salaries are "adjusted" to accomondate this. And since the contributions are "personal", they're perfectly legal.

Or how about non-contributions, like ads "Paid for by the Citizens to Reelect" fund?

Personally, the only way I see to eliminate corporate conributions is to eliminate ALL contributions. Perhaps if you get enough signatures to get on the ballot you get a fixed amount of federal/state money to spend, the same as each of your other opponents.

Re:Money corrupts politics - absolutely (1)

Damek (515688) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878265)

I almost agree with your sentiments. I think they demand the following question, however:

Is there anything anyone can do about anything anywhere? If so, why not do it?

Corporate money isn't the main problem (1)

jmichaelg (148257) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878270)

I was at a town meeting organized by my local Congressional rep. Listening to the people at the meeting, I realized the biggest problem our country faces is ourselves. Literally, every single person who got up and spoke wanted money for some reason or another. One guy was a postal worker who wanted social security payments because he'd worked the minimum # of quarters to qualify for social security. Another was a school teacher who wanted a bigger pension. Another was a parent with a child with some brain disease who wanted help. The entreaties for money never stopped.

What really is depressing is the realization that Social Security is going to start spewing cash like never before as my generation retires and the money isn't there to fund it. Sure, it's there on the books but the reality is the money was spent the moment it came in the door. So a lot of baby boomers are going to start asking for their share and though the books show the money is there, the "there" is some taxpayer's pocket.

It doesn't matter whether the politician is Republican or Democrat - neither of them is willing to take that problem on because whoever does knows they'll get voted out of office.

Re:Money corrupts politics - absolutely (1)

dfgchgfxrjtdhgh.jjhv (951946) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878478)

power corrupts.

If you give someone power, they will find a way to use it in a corrupt way to benefit themselves personally.

There is no such thing as a politician that isnt corrupt, there never has been & never will be.

Taking corporate money out may help a little, or might not, because the politicians will always find a way to take bribes. It might just make the practice more secret & even more dangerous.

Maybe a 'list of interests' should be kept, so any personal or party donations are made public & anyone taking secret bribes, gifts, or whatever you want to call it should be banned from politics for life.

Obviously though, the politicians are the only people that have the power to create a law like this, so there is little hope.

Politician's pay (4, Interesting)

Yoik (955095) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877678)

One problem with politics is that there needs to be some return for competent people who work in the field. Otherwise it gets dominated by thieves and obsessives. Right now the thieves are winning.

The big challenge is finding a way to offer a decent lifestyle to an honest, sane politician.

The book seems to be complaining about one system for doing that.

Re:Politician's pay (1)

sheldon (2322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878052)

I'm not sure I understand.

When kos complaints about political consultants, he's primarily complaining about thieves and obsessives.

Netroots (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14877679)

Liberals^W Progressives assume that the power of the new medium is naturally and unavoidably on their side.

Hahaha.

We'll see.

Success... (4, Informative)

christopherfinke (608750) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877680)

Didn't all 17 or 18 of the political candidates that Kos openly endorsed lose? I'm not sure what in this kind of track record would qualify Markos to write a book on the subject...

Interesting point... (4, Insightful)

sheldon (2322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877766)

But I think it kind of misses the point of what kos is about.

It's not so much about winning elections, but rather changing the dynamics of the debate. Changing the dynamics of the debate is a longer term strategy than just winning an election.

While I haven't read this book, my impression is that is what it is about. Not on how to win elections, but rather on how to influence direction.

Re:Interesting point... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14877892)

As of yesterday's primaries, Kos-supported candidates are 0-for-19.

"Changing the dynamics of the debate"....BWAHAHAHAHA....yeah, Markos can keep changing excuses why his party keeps LOSING!

Freakin hippies...

Re:Interesting point... (3, Informative)

sheldon (2322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878011)

Perhaps.

Most of kos's pushes for candidates are fringe. Promoting a primary challenger to Lieberman democrats and such. They haven't been successful perhaps, but the point again is to change the dynamics of the discussion. He wants to see competitive primaries and general elections. By making things competitive, you force the opposition to defend on multiple fronts.

I'm not sure where the freakin hippy comment comes from. If you've ever seen a picture of kos, or myself or numerous others now involved in the debate. We ain't hippies. We also didn't wear pink polo's in school either.

Keep dreaming. (2, Interesting)

Ivan Matveitch (748164) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878017)

Doing that would mean preaching to people outside the choir---eg, persuading moderate American intellectuals that your policies are preferable to those of the other party. Jerking knees (or something worse) on the web seems unlikely to help.

But who knows, I haven't read this book, maybe it's all about how to turn their site into a bad-ass propaganda machine.

Markos "Screw Them" Zuninga (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14878189)

Anybody remember his infamous "screw them" moment? [littlegreenfootballs.com]

Of course you don't, because kos disappeared it because the backlash was so great.

That comment is just one representative example of the "debate" that the kos kids want to have.

If this is the kind of debate kos wants, no wonder his candidates keep losing elections.

Re:Markos "Screw Them" Zuninga (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14878342)

You love mercenaries? You'd be a Tory then.

Re:Markos "Screw Them" Zuninga (3, Informative)

Flamerule (467257) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878431)

Anybody remember his infamous "screw them" moment? [littlegreenfootballs.com]

Of course you don't, because kos disappeared it because the backlash was so great.
This is false. You may want to look into actually reading the links you post -- your page links directly to Kos's comment.

Re:Success... (0, Redundant)

FatRatBastard (7583) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877901)

He's not having much luck even getting his candidates to win in Democratic primaries. See the outcome of Cuellar v. Rodriguez in Texas.

Re:Success... (1)

harks (534599) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877914)

His stated strategy in helping the Democraticis in general is to focus on supporting candidates in districts that are very difficult to win.

Re:Success... (1)

FatRatBastard (7583) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877948)

Then did he, MyDD, MoveOn.org and others try to unseat a Democratic encumbant in Texas at the primary level? If his stated goals are to help the Dems in races they traditionally don't do very well in why was he wasting time and doners' cash on an intra-party squabble?

Re:Success... (1)

harks (534599) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877962)

I don't follow very closely, and I haven't heard of the race you're talking about, but the first thing that comes to mind would be "to put a better candidate in office."

Re:Success... (2, Insightful)

Malacandra (585921) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878021)

It's called "principle". The race in Texas was between an incredibly regressive incumbent who runs away from his party... and endorses the Republican agenda.

And yes, Kos has targeted tough races so the fact that there's been a lot of losses isn't unanticipated.
On the other hand, he has helped win some races, too. Ask Stephanie Herseth if the netroots helped her campaign.

Re:Success... (1)

FatRatBastard (7583) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878376)

That's fine. I have no problem with that. I just flies in the face of the parent poster's claim that Kos' mandate is to help Dem candidates in red states which explains DailyKos' terrible batting average. Kos is going to throw his support around candidates he feels are worthy of his support. Thus far, he's been damn successful in helping raise funds and awareness, but it hasn't translated into electorial success. It may in the future; then again, it may not.

Re:Success... (1)

hamburger lady (218108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877973)

the dude almost always goes for the underdog grassroots candidates. i mean, come on, did you really expect delay to get overturned in the last election? but kos backed a dem candidate anyway, and now she has name recognition and backers. he doesn't tend to back the big money business dems who typically are more likely to win.

Re:Success... (5, Informative)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878287)

Not exactly. Kos forced the other side to spend (some would say "waste") resources on "sure bet" areas, that suddenly were competitive in and in play. In this, which was his state goal, he succeeded admirably.

The "Kos endorses no one but losers" is a meme that comes from sites such as RedState and the like, and it used as political FUD to try and detract from pretty much any discussion about Kos -- even the supposedly liberal New York Times has ran hit pieces with this FUD in it.

The Democrats seem to feel that they can ignore 90% of the country, as long as they win the swing states. That any state that's "too red" is a lost cause and to give it up. Dean and Kos believe that tying up resources in these "too red" states is a way to make sure the Republicans can't flood "too blue" states with money to win elections.

Kos has proven, quite effectively, that even "lost causes" should be fought, tooth and nail. These rather unknown canidates were going up against very well known and well connected incumbants, with almost no help from the official Democrats, and still managed very strong showings. Not bad for a blogger, I have to say.

Re:Success... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14878454)

"KOS" didn't "force" the other side to do anything, any more than the "other side" forced "KOS" to do anything.

I think you're giving too much credit where it isn't due...

Re:Success... (1)

Damek (515688) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878294)

Barry Goldwater lost. A whole slew of conservative candidates lost a lot of elections before they even got to that point, despite fervent conservative activism. Despite that, I think a lot of people would be interested in what the conservative activists of the time had to say about what they were doing. For more, try Rick Perlstein's Before the Storm.

Jerome & Markos (4, Interesting)

TheGrapeApe (833505) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877724)

Let me say that I think the "net effect" that these guys have on the political & media scene in America is, in fact, a very _very_ positive one; They have played a critical role in bringing America back to the yellow-fedora-wearing-"get-the-story-at-any-cost" style of journalism that the mainstream media has been denying the public for a long time. Granted- most of their stories lean to the left, but the right has the "Drudge Report" to balance that out. So, insofar as they act as "channels" for information, they are very valuable: They've played an important role in making sure that the MSM doesn't "pin" stories like the Abramoff/Delay/Culture-of-Corruption stories under the public's radar.

As political analysts? Take it with a grain..no, a _block_ of salt. It's ironic that this topic would get posted today...as it marks the 0-for-20 record for them in backing House candidates (they couldn't even get Cuellar [TX-28] into a stinking _runoff_!). They want to harp and harp about how bad the "party establishment" is...and they propose that they should be the shining leaders of this movement to replace that establishment...But it's hard to buy their arguments when their record is as poor as it has been. They are kelp being tossed around in the waves of American politics. They might like to think that they are making those waves - and I'm sure their book contains all manner of self-congratulating passages telling the reader how they think they did that - but they aren't. If you are reading this article - Congratulations! You have a better record at supporting democratic candidates than either of them do!! But if you want to get a book that tells you why their "New Establishment" is so much better than the ones put together by Democrats _who actually got elected at some point_, then go pick it up at your local book store.

Re:Jerome & Markos (3, Interesting)

mykej (33237) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878303)

You have to look at the 0-20 record in context though. They've sought out races in which there was no outside support. The DCCC is horrible about writing off races far too quickly. Markos and Jerome seem to believe that campaigns aren't about going for the sure things, they're about you know, campaigning. Trying to change minds. It doesn't happen overnight, and it doesn't happen in one or two cycles.

"Progressive" (3, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877730)

How is it that people who prefer big, tax-supported bureaucracies that manage a significant amount of public and private life are called progressive? This is what's so ironic about my geeks and nerds. They can see the obvious fatal flaw in a Windows NT domain and the centralization that it brings to a network topology, but they cannot see the even greater flaw in directing the economic output and general government of a country from a single point, often the central government.

There is nothing progressive about having a general preference for state controls over the people and the economy. It's a reactionary fear that somewhere, somehow someone might say, do or produce something that others might not like or that might make them happy.

You know who was a true progressive? John Locke, not Noam Chomsky or any other leftwing hack. John Locke was the first person in the modern world to stand up and say, who the hell do you think you are to boss everyone around like you're an emissary from the divine? Divine right to rule, rule by the mob, the proletarian revolution, they're all descended from the old idea that some people are born to control others.

Liberals, in the classical sense, were the first ones in modern history to overturn all of that, which is why Marx hated liberalism. Most of what "progressives" stand for is just another way to tear down the individual and elevate the group. How that's different from our ancestors' tribalist tendencies is beyond me. You want progress? Move away from tribalist notions of what the group means toward a modern notion which is a freely chosen, non-coercive relationship.

Re:"Progressive" (5, Informative)

Photon Ghoul (14932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877823)

Noam Chomsky

Just to be clear, Chomsky is neither "liberal" nor pro-"big, tax-supported bureaucracies". He's an anarchist. That means a distinct lack of "big, tax-supported bureaucracies".

Right-wing hacks typically lump him in with the left-wing ones simply because he's uses a critic's eye when looking at the past and present actions of the U.S.

Strawman much? (5, Insightful)

nightsweat (604367) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877851)

Very nice charicature of a party that in no way resembles the Democrats.

Over the last fifteen years, which party was responsible for most of the cuts in government and which was responsible for most of the expansion of government? Which party had a surplus and which has record deficits? Which is surveilling you in direct opposition to laws passed to prevent warrantless surveillance and which party is fighting that surveillance?

Time you reconciled your perceptions with the realities.

Re:Strawman much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14878085)

I'm 34 years old and no Republican president has balanced the budget in my life time. Without fundamental changes in the part, none ever will. All we get are bigger deficits and tax deferments. My children were born with a birth tax. I don't know when they'll pay it or in what form, but eventually my children and your children are going to have to pay for our nation's mushrooming debt.

Re:Strawman much? You certainly do (1)

TallDave (916610) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878179)

I hope you're just spinning and don't really believe that tripe; else, I fear for your sanity. The GOP hasn't been great, but the Dems are always, always, always worse on non-defense spending. And which party tried to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment and which party killed it?

Time you accepted reality (2, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878345)

And who was pushing for socialized healthcare, carnivore, had to be coerced into accepting welfare reform and oversaw a DoJ that twice in a few years time had major, violent confrontations with American citizens that ended in innocent civilians getting killed by carless federal agents? Bill Clinton, a democrat. Did you know that David Koresh, the leader at Waco, used to go for a walk into town about 4 days a week and that law enforcement knew this at the time? They didn't arrest him because they wanted a confrontation with what they called an extremist group. Last I checked, that's not a professional attitude. That's a military attitude, not a peace officer mentality.

The Republicans are worse than the Democrats, but that's not relevent to anything that I said. Clearly, I am not a Republican as I identify with classical liberalism. And what pray tell, oh defender of the party of the ass, does that make me inclined to be? A voting Libertarian, that's right. I voted for Badnarik, not Busherry in 2004. Why, that would make me a genuine opponent of both "progressives" AND their republican country club counterparts.

The truth is that both parties do the same things. The Democrats are better in a few degrees, not principles, and that really does depend on the area you're talking about because they are far worse than the Republicans in their fair share of areas as well. Last I checked it wasn't the Republicans that generally favor an end to private firearm ownership or laws against hate speech or thought crimes that punish people for having hateful motivations.

Reconciliation (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878384)

I don't think parent was talking about Ds and Rs, rather the underlying philosophies apparantly ignored by each. But to answer your questions,

Over the last fifteen years,

Remember that spending bills originate in the house, which has been under republican control for the past 11 years, so they're going to get credit/blame for the vast majority of spending related events.

which party was responsible for most of the cuts in government and which was responsible for most of the expansion of government?

The answer to both is the Republican Party.

Which party had a surplus and which has record deficits?

again, the Republican party on both counts.

*unless you're talking about percent of GDP. Then the Democrats win the deficit record.

Which is surveilling you in direct opposition to laws passed to prevent warrantless surveillance and which party is fighting that surveillance?

ahh. well the last 15 years include 8 years of clinton in the exectuive office. Since your question refers to executive action, the answer is that both parties are roughly equal in that regard, but under clinton, the agencies were not allowed to share information with each other. Also under clinton, 1 family was killed for not denouncing white supremecism enough (IIRC, the main offence was that he refused to spy on his neghbors), and 1 crazy cult was raided and burned for being creepy (also for having some firearms which maybe had not had proper tax paid on them), but at least he didn't wrongfully imprison any of them.

Also, it is imporant to remember, that at no time during the past 15 years was there ever an actual surplus. The surplus you refer to was a projected surplus slated to occur a few years into the bush presidency IF the economy continued grow at 1999 levels. One of Bush's campaign points for 2000 was that the economy was entering into a recession, and so those projections could not remain accurate. Not surprisingly, when he turned out to be correct, he got most of the blame for that as well.

Re:"Progressive" (2, Interesting)

sheldon (2322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877912)

Honestly, I think your opinion here is not quite accurate. That is, you are building a stereotype without merit based on a perception issue.

There's a lot more here that I could debate. But consider the alternative of Republican economic policies. Do you think they are free-market and pro-individual? At this point, the people I know who are progressives simply know that the Republican policies don't work and they are looking for an answer to combat them with.

The Locke arguments do work with this group, when framed right.

Although I really don't get your Windows NT point, since NT is a distributed control environment.

Re:"Progressive" (1)

Damek (515688) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878371)

Because the idea that we can take care of each other a little better if we institute some safety-net programs, and the idea that workers should be able to bargain collectively for their compensation and safety and other issues - these were once progressive issues.

Whereas the idea that a feudal society is somehow good was the regressive, conservative idea.

Somehow libertarians and conservatives are trying to play the victim and turn this around, but repeatedly insisting that the basic social reforms that have made society and life more stable and freer for the majority of the population are somehow regressive and backwards will just never make it so.

Which is not to say that there isn't a conflict between social reform and social control, and that these aren't things to be watched out for. And moral impositions should be right out. But I'll take a balance of social programs and government watching over unfettered capitalism and exploitation any day.

Ah, yes... (4, Insightful)

Kythe (4779) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878510)

...the eternal libertarian philosophical lynchpin: "fuck you".

NO ONE but a libertarian could confuse regulated capitalism with socialism. It's a sure sign of an extremist. Thanks for playing.

Trippi's book (3, Informative)

lunartik (94926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877777)

I thought Joe Trippi's book on the Howard Dean campaign was interesting and I am not at all in the Dean or Kos end of the spectrum. If you think the Kos book sounds like it might lay on the politics pretty thick, try checking out The Revolution Will Not Be Televised : Democracy, the Internet, and the Overthrow of Everything. It speaks more to the use of technology for fund raising and organizing and leaves a lot of the politics in the background.

middle america (3, Insightful)

august sun (799030) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877781)

I have yet to be convinced that this new medium can reach middle america. So far it just seems to be getting to the well-educated + net-savvy younger generation, whom tend to the Left anyway so I'd question how this will revolutionize the political landscape in America and be a force for broadcasting the liberal message to the masses.

last name is Moulitsas, not Zúniga (1, Offtopic)

tmf90069 (743323) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877954)

in the latin tradition of using both the father's and mother's family name, his last name is Moulitsas, not Zuniga

Dean is Nuts? (0, Troll)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877994)

The Democratic stronghold eventually trounced Dean - they took it upon themselves to define him as "unelectable," and turn Dean's overzealousness into perceived nuttiness.

I'd say that Howard Dean played a large roll in that himself. His "YEEAHHH" moment and forwarding conspiracy theories about 9-11 lost him more votes than it won him.

About Democracy (4, Interesting)

argoff (142580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14877998)

I only RTF'd the first fiew PP's, but I thought it was important to point out. Democracy is not an end in itself, it is a means, a means to preserve liberties and freedoms that people are entitled to from birth. It is a tool, and like any tool can be used constructively or destructively.

Freedoms do not mean free room, borad, health care, eduction, and (insert good cause here) coerced at every one elses expense by the popular mob. Anyone can do grand feats when done with other peoples money.

Freedoms mean free, as in free will, as in your right to controll, allocate, and use opportunities, money, and resources honestly gained without the government coercing it away. All to often people act like the government taking money from one group of people to give to another has consequences so neglable that it isn't even worth mentioning. Well, the truth is that it is that the consequences are more harmfull for government to take from people, than if individuals had gotten it by stealing it all by themselves.

Re:About Democracy (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878432)

> Democracy is not an end in itself, it is a means, a means to preserve liberties and
> freedoms that people are entitled to from birth. It is a tool, and like any tool can
> be used constructively or destructively.

I have to go with the Founding Fathers here and disagree. Democracy is an evil, always. Which is why we were given a Republic with clearly defined and limited powers spelled out in a written Constituition. A nation of Laws not Men, where the minority has inalienable Rights not even a majority can revoke. (Too bad we discarded it, it was actually a pretty nice Constitution.) Democracy is 51 voting to piss in the 49's Corn Flakes and if they believe in Democracy the 49 are supposed to accept it. Democracy is mob rule. Democracy is the plebs voting themselves bread and circuses.

I'd like to point out... (3, Interesting)

Tiber (613512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878176)

1) I found the historical elements of the book the very compelling - again, while I didn't check facts, I didn't feel I needed to.

And that's exactly the problem. You look at things like the Rather reporting on George Bush and the blatent falsehoods and the Republicans do it so much better then the Democrats. How many people pledged to defeat the Patriot Act only to sell you out and vote for it? But that might not be important to you, that might count as fact-checking. You look at the careful review done about the CBS memo [littlegreenfootballs.com] and it becomes startlingly clear that fact checking is not only encouraged in politics, it's required. If dKos is urging you not to trust the people making up the government, then the least you can do is fact check the book. If you don't trust one, why would you even consider trusting the other?

The problem with politics is that people turn their brains off and don't do fact checking. Everyone has their own dollars at stake, they're going to say whatever it takes to get more of those dollars. How many Democrats said they would defeat Bush and the Patriot Act simply to turn around and vote to renew it?

One quibble (2, Insightful)

TallDave (916610) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878211)

I noted something about Republican campaigners being better paid. A big difference in the 1004 GOTV efforts was that Dems were paid while the GOPs were volunteers. By all accounts, this dichotomy worked to the GOPs favor: they were true believers intent on spreading their glorious message of truth, justice, and the Republican way, while the Dems were just showing up to make a buck.

Republican "big machine" came from small roots (3, Insightful)

Damek (515688) | more than 8 years ago | (#14878218)

If you lean right [...] You have a "big machine" on your side, one constructed over decades - how could any grassroots effort put a dent in it?

Republicans (and hopeful progressives) should take note that the current Republican "machine" arose out of fervent conservative activism that has roots going back almost 60 years, to the tireless efforts of one Clarence "Pat" Manion, who utilized direct mail techniques to begin the process of uniting disparate elements of conservative citizens in the hopes of winning back their own party which had become increasingly liberal to compete with the Democrats.

Despite history's usual focus on the leftist activists of the 1960s, there was a very strong undercurrent of conservative student activism as well, resulting in the candidacy of Barry Goldwater. This failed at first, but they arguably ultimately succeeded in Reagan. Not that any of their "small government" hopes and dreams ever succeeded. They never will. But I digress.

The point here is, though, that what's happening on the left right now is almost the mirror image of what happened back then. As a progressive, I hope that, with the benefits of increased communication times and cheaper mass-communication, we can do things a little faster... but time will tell. We progressives should be in for a long, difficult process, with much failure before eventual success.

Conservatives, conversely, should be asking themselves if they're actually getting what they want from their elected officials. But that's just par for the course for partisans of both parties, isn't it?

Badly written review (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14878330)

Come on, writing is easy when you don't try so hard, and when you proofread.

I picked up "Crashing The Gate - Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics" from the DailyKos website, albeit apprehensively. The Kos community has a "reputation," and some would suspect that any printed material associated with the site would parallel what is said there. Nevertheless...

WTF does that mean? As somebody who doesn't read DailyKos, I have no idea.

I knocked this puppy off over three afternoons, including note taking.

What does that mean?

Then, wham, they actually say Republican strategies are "brilliant," while describing their party's entitlement participation philosophy (meaning, one should be happy to have a job on a Democratic campaign, even if you electricity just got shut off) in comparison to the well paid, constant grooming and care that Republican "students" usually received.

This sentence is impenetrable.

I was hoping for a complete separation between the web diatribe the authors are associated with, and their view to initiate change through hardcopy publication. Unfortunately, I found at least one element of major distraction, on pages 114 through 118, which referenced events regarding politically motivated compensation for both old and new media input. It hinted, unnecessarily, of some bitterness, while I would rather have heard...

A "hint" was an element of major distraction? Really? And what does it have to do with the website?

Additional anecdotes describing "normal, sane" candidates having the ability to win elections left me chuckling a few times as well, meaning I had some difficulty disassociating the authors with some of what I have read at DailyKos.

I'm happy you're happy. But that sentence means nothing if you haven't read this website.

The purpose of a review is to inform. If you start off by assuming that people reading the review know what you know, then it defeats the purpose of writing the review in the first place.

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